A letter from the Sam Adams Associates to The Guardian regarding ‘Julian Assange finds no allies’ by Amelia Hill

On the 23rd January 2013 the Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence presented this year’s award to Dr Tom Fingar at a ceremony co-hosted with the Oxford Union Society. Julian Assange gave an address live via Videolink and then engaged with the audience in a question-and-answer session.

The next day The Guardian attacks Julian Assange: Julian Assange finds no allies and tough queries in Oxford University talk, 24th January 2013, by Amelia Hill. The article refers to a Guardian writer Simone Webb “Waving her anti-Assange banner while around 400 undergraduates queued to get into the hall, Simone Webb, the protest organiser, insisted the demonstration was not a stand against free speech.” In an article of 611 words, 74 are spent describing the event, the rest is an attack, of which 154 are given to anti-Assange banner waving Simone Webb and 91 are given to someone called Savage who “was left sanguine” by Julian Assange’s polite answer to her question. This distorted article is comprehensively dissected and dismantled by M Cetera here.

The article was so disgraceful that the Sam Adams Associates responded to it in ‘a letter to the Guardian‘.
Later the same day (29th January) The Guardian reproduced a heavily edited version of the letter:

THIS COLOUR IS FOR REDACTIONS
THIS COLOUR IS FOR ADDITIONS

Dear Sir

With regard to the 24 January article in The Guardian entitled “Julian Assange Finds No Allies and Tough Queries in Oxford University Talk,” we question whether the newspaper’s reporter was actually present at the event, since the account contains so many false and misleading statements.

If The Guardian could “find no allies” of Mr. Julian Assange (Report, 24 January), it did not look very hard! They could be found among the appreciative audience of the packed Oxford Union Debate Hall, and – in case you missed us – in the group seated right at the front of the Hall: the Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence.

Many in our group — which, you might be interested to know co-sponsored the event with Oxford Union — had traveled considerable distances at our own expense to confer the 10th annual Sam Adams award to Dr. Thomas Fingar for his work on overseeing the 2007 National Intelligence Estimate that revealed the lack of an Iranian nuclear weaponization program since 2003.

Many of us spoke in turn about the need for integrity in intelligence, describing the terrible ethical dilemma that confronts government employees who witness illegal activity including serious threats to public safety and fraud, waste and abuse.

But However, none of this, nor any aspect of Dr. Fingar’s acceptance speech, made it into what was supposed to pass for a news your article; neither did any aspect of the acceptance speech delivered by Dr. Fingar. Also, why did The Guardian fail to provide even one salient quote from Mr Assange’s substantial twenty-minute address?

By censoring the contributions of the Sam Adams Associates and the speeches by Dr. Fingar and Mr. Assange, and by focusing exclusively on tawdry and unproven allegations against Mr. Assange, rather than on the importance of exposing war crimes and maintaining integrity in intelligence processes, The Guardian has succeeded in diminishing none but itself.

Sincerely,

The Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence:

Ann Wright (retired Army Colonel and Foreign Service Officer of US State Department), Ray McGovern (retired CIA analyst), Elizabeth Murray (retired CIA analyst), Coleen Rowley (retired FBI agent), Annie Machon (former MI5 intelligence officer), Thomas Drake (former NSA official), Craig Murray (former British Ambassador), David MacMichael (retired CIA analyst), Brady Kiesling (former Foreign Service Officer of US State Department), and Todd Pierce (retired U.S. Army Major, Judge Advocate, Guantanamo Defense Counsel).
Original Versions:

Letters. Assange’s allies. The Guardian, Tuesday 29 January 2013 9 pm

If the Guardian could “find no allies” of Julian Assange (Report, 24 January), it did not look very hard. They could be found among the appreciative audience at the Oxford Union, and in our group seated at the front: the Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence. Many in our group, which co-sponsored the event, had travelled considerable distances to confer the 10th annual Sam Adams award on Dr Thomas Fingar for his work overseeing the 2007 National Intelligence Estimate that revealed the absence of an Iranian nuclear weaponisation programme since 2003. Many of us spoke about the need for integrity in intelligence, describing the ethical dilemma that confronts government employees who witness illegal activity, including serious threats to public safety. However, none of this, nor any aspect of Dr Fingar’s acceptance speech, made it into your article.

Ann Wright Retired US army colonel and foreign service officer of US state department, Ray McGovern Retired CIA analyst, Elizabeth Murray Retired CIA analyst, Coleen Rowley Retired FBI agent, Annie Machon Former MI5 intelligence officer, Thomas Drake Former National Security Agency official, Craig Murray Former British ambassador, David MacMichael Retired CIA analyst, Brady Kiesling Former foreign service officer, US department of state, Todd Pierce Retired US army major, judge advocate, Guantánamo defence counsel
Letter to the Guardian, 29 January 2013:

Dear Sir

With regard to the 24 January article in the Guardian entitled “Julian Assange Finds No Allies and Tough Queries in Oxford University Talk,” we question whether the newspaper’s reporter was actually present at the event, since the account contains so many false and misleading statements.

If the Guardian could “find no allies” of Mr. Assange, it did not look very hard! They could be found among the appreciative audience of the packed Oxford Union Debate Hall, and – in case you missed us – in the group seated right at the front of the Hall: the Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence.

Many in our group – which, you might be interested to know co-sponsored the event with Oxford Union – had traveled considerable distances at our own expense to confer the 10th annual Sam Adams award to Dr. Thomas Fingar for his work on overseeing the 2007 National Intelligence Estimate that revealed the lack of an Iranian nuclear weaponization program.

Many of us spoke in turn about the need for integrity in intelligence, describing the terrible ethical dilemma that confronts government employees who witness illegal activity including serious threats to public safety and fraud, waste and abuse.

But none of this made it into what was supposed to pass for a news article; neither did any aspect of the acceptance speech delivered by Dr. Fingar. Also, why did the Guardian fail to provide even one salient quote from Mr Assange’s substantial twenty-minute address?

By censoring the contributions of the Sam Adams Associates and the speeches by Dr. Fingar and Mr. Assange, and by focusing exclusively on tawdry and unproven allegations against Mr. Assange, rather than on the importance of exposing war crimes and maintaining integrity in intelligence processes, the Guardian has succeeded in diminishing none but itself.

Sincerely,

The Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence:

Ann Wright (retired Army Colonel and Foreign Service Officer of US State Department), Ray McGovern (retired CIA analyst), Elizabeth Murray (retired CIA analyst), Coleen Rowley (retired FBI agent), Annie Machon (former MI5 intelligence officer), Thomas Drake (former NSA official), Craig Murray (former British Ambassador), David MacMichael (retired CIA analyst), Brady Kiesling (former Foreign Service Officer of US State Department), and Todd Pierce (retired U.S. Army Major, Judge Advocate, Guantanamo Defense Counsel).

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